Powerless #6

 Title: Powerless
 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Kerry Wilkinson (E-Mail)

Story Details

Watts is in a meeting room with Dr Bruce Banner. It is quite unproductive with neither of them communicating but then Watts begins to tell him how he woke from a coma just a few weeks ago and has since been having visions of people doing incredible things (he then pictures Banner as the Hulk). Banner's support convinces Watts to phone the police on Peter's behalf to report the kidnapping of Gwen Stacy.

Elsewhere, Matt Murdock is also on the phone to the police, reporting a murder. It is seemingly his own as he knows a hit is coming. Wilson Fisk's men storm his building and pin him to the floor. Wilson Fisk himself shows up and orders his men to leave the room. Fisk shows Matt some photos from 12 years earlier of him with Karen Page. Fisk says he knows Matt used to be a junkie and that he was the one who got Karen hooked and – ultimately – killed. He cracks Matt over the head with his cane, just as the police show up.

Peter has arrived at Oscorp with the documents Osborn got him to steal from Tony Stark. He has reached the 53rd floor and Osborn unveils Gwen. He asks for the file but then the sound of police sirens disturbs them all. Pete says he didn't call them but says he's not going to hand over the files in any case. Pete throws the papers over the window ledge. Osborn launches himself after them but tumbles over the edge, taking Gwen with him. Peter just keeps a hold of Gwen using his crippled arm and pulling her to safety. Osborn splats on the pavement below.

In a cut-scene, we see Logan paying Senator Eric Magnus (a republican (bastard) from New Hampshire) a visit…

Watts is writing in his journal about his experiences and concludes: “The choices you make in the lives of others connect you to their fate in a way that is deliciously human and real.”

Watts reads in the paper that Murdock has been murdered, while, on the steps of the courthouse shortly after Fisk is giving a speech through his lawyer about how great it is to be vindicated of the crime. He then tarnishes Murdock's name by revealing the embellished account of Karen Page. High above the building, Frank Castle actually commits a murder … sniping Fisk from high above. He wonders who else deserves punishment.

Back with Watts, he soliloquies about what he has learned. How life and death is real, that people choose to be heroes or villains and that, sometimes, we truly are powerless. He shaves off his moustache and in the bathroom mirror, we see his reflection as … The Watcher.

General Comments

I really liked the conclusion to this miniseries. Everything wraps up just nicely and you get a real feel for the characters away from their superhero exteriors. Watts as the Watcher (from the old What If…'s, in case you didn't know) is a really good finale and does seem kind of obvious going back through the issues – even down to his name.

My favourite idea is probably the full circle nature of Frank Castle's turnaround from being incarcerated and subsequently freed for a murder he didn't commit to murdering the one person he would have wanted to in the first instance. Peter saving Gwen with his crippled arm was a brave moment too – if slightly predictable in the scheme of things.

What I didn't really get was why Osborn effectively threw himself off a building to save papers that were going to be lost in any case. Maybe it as just the art being unclear. Was it suicide? Was it an accident. I'm still not really sure.

There's a few subtle touches of humour – as there have been throughout the series. I quite like the idea of Magneto as a Republican senator from New Hampshire, for instance.

Lastly, the pacing of this series as a whole was pretty much spot on. It filled six issues well and didn't seem particularly dragged out, apart from maybe a page or two. The writers Matt Cherniss and Peter Johnson have shown a real grasp of the characters – not the hero personas – which, if anything, is perhaps harder to do. They are clearly fans of the Marvel line, keeping a basic continuity and including plenty of extra throwaway characters and lines that would excite the fans and not bother the casual reader.

Overall Rating

Ultimately I think this will read better as a TPB. The art in the Osborn death scene is ambiguous to the point where it's unclear quite what happened, which does let things down. Watts as the Watcher is clever and Peter's transformation is very, well, Parker-like.

 Title: Powerless
 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Kerry Wilkinson (E-Mail)